“…and some with a fountain pen.” (Woody Guthry)
Dear Ms. Feverfew –
I got word early this morning that my friend’s adoption has now been slammed shut by the adoptive couple because she has the temerity to speak out about her pain of losing [her little son]. There is no legal recourse for her…and what is worse, she has to live with the knowledge for the rest of her life that she chose these people to parent her son. On the upside, the adoptive parents told [my friend] that if she can “be happy” about the adoption and “learn to handle her pain” then they might allow some form of contact. Might.
I am sure [my friend] is much like me (at least prior to this latest stunt that [this little boy’s] adoptive parents have pulled). I am sure that her problems with adoption are NOT with the adoptive parents. Our chief complaint is with the institution of womb-fresh, still wet with their mother’s amniotic fluid infant adoption and with the culture that supports and condones this type of treatment of women who would make exceptional mothers.
Lest anyone think that the cultural attitudes and norms of the Baby Scoop Era are a relic of the past, they are not. They are alive and well in Utah and the LDS adoption scene.
I keep wondering what is going through that woman’s mind right now, the woman who is now holding [this little boy] hostage, using him as a bargaining tool to force [my friend’s] compliance with the culturally mandated norm of a “good LDS bee-mommy.” You know the kind I am talking about, the birth mothers who go around “advocating for adoption” because it is such a “miracle and a blessing” in their lives and they feel so “privileged” and “lucky” to give their babies to complete strangers. It makes me wonder how many of those women are just going through the motions, regurgitating the party-line so they are not cut off from their child’s life forever by their adopters.
A person doesn’t always have to have a gun pointed at their head, locked and loaded, in order to be forced into complicity.
And then I get to thinking of how this could be handled differently. Since we know that [his] adoptive parents have now claimed total and utter ownership of him, of course they are well within their “rights” to do whatever they please. We also know they would never in a million years consider giving [him] back to his mother because he was bought and paid for, signed, sealed and delivered and is now theirs forever and ever amen.
But what if, instead of acting like a petulant 5-year old little girl who is angry at someone because they dared play with her dolly, what if this woman were to suck it up and be the mature person she claims to be? What if she were to call [my friend] and say, “I know you are hurting. I know this isn’t what any of us thought it would be. It is what it is so we have to find a way through this. What can we do together to make this the best for all of us?” We all know the best possible thing for [him] is to have his mother in his life. If this adoption was REALLY about [this little boy] and his needs and NOT about his adoptive mother and HER NEEDS, then she would say a prayer, suck it up, and do what is needed to ensure that [he] has his mother in his life. Period. That includes setting aside her prideful need to exert ownership over this precious child.
And then I get to thinking about [this little boy] and how this will affect him. He is being raised by people who detest his mother enough to intentionally cut her out of his life. This is no longer the era of closed adoption. They cannot claim ignorance or innocence about their behavior. They will be fully responsible for the fallout of this in [his] life. They will have NO ONE to blame but themselves for what happens when he discovers how poorly they have treated his mother. And make no mistake about it – he will find out.
There are many other things I have been thinking but for now, I need to get back to my writing for my dissertation. I have 22 more days before I need to have it in the hands of my committee and I am starting to get a wee bit anxious.
P.S. I had to edit this post and the comments tonight to remove identifying information of my friend and her son. Things have gone from bad to impossible and I don’t want provide the adoptive mother any more ammunition to use against my friend. Any changes to the post or comments are [bracketed]. I *hate* having to do this, but I don’t know any other way to protect her yet tell her story at the same time. My apologies to those whose comments had to be redacted. 03/10/9:37 p.m.